SAIS continued their stellar array of Africanist events this week with a talk this afternoon titled,“Does Information Technology Flatten Interest Articulation? Evidence From Uganda” by Guy Grossman of the University of Pennsylvania. Grossman discussed the results of a pilot research project that covered all of Uganda’s 248 political constituencies (can’t remember what level that is). Grossman suggested that the results of this study show that mobile phones (which have been primarily celebrated in Africa as a tool to assist in agricultural commerce) can also play a meaningful role in connecting citizens to their elected representatives. Continue reading
SAIS kept up its plate of Africa fare this week with a talk (in the same room as Monday’s China discussion) featuring two Kenyans (one US-based, one from Kenya). Mwangi Kimenyi, the Africa expert at Brookings, was joined by Karuti Kanyinga (disclaimer – I have worked briefly with Karuti), a scholar at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi. The topic was “Looking Past Kenya’s Election: Ethnic and Institutional Challenges to Inclusive Development.” Although the stated intent was to look at challenges that Kenya will face in the aftermath of the election, the elephant in the room figured prominently as well.
Both of the speakers seemed to be relatively optimistic about recent developments in Kenya. Continue reading
Today, the China Studies Program at SAIS hosted a former alumna and current SAIS visiting scholar to discuss, “Private Chinese Investment in Africa: Myths and Realities.” This talk had two interesting angles that many similar endeavors lack – a free Chinese lunch buffet and a Chinese ex-World Bank official as the featured speaker. Continue reading